Butch’s Bar Fire Debris Pile Removed

Slightly more than two months after Butch’s Bar was destroyed by fire, the site on the southeast corner of 3rd Avenue and Nebraska Street will stand vacant, said Sturgeon Bay Fire Chief Tim Dietman. Removal of the debris proceeded after the conclusion of an on-site investigation, he said. 

To avoid environmental contamination, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has overseen the proper removal of asbestos from the site. The city has had no direct involvement with the debris removal, which has been handled through the property’s insurance company. The debris removal was on schedule to be removed by the end of the first week in May, leaving an empty, gravel-covered lot where a building had stood for more than 100 years. 

Steady progress was being made last week on removing debris from the Butch’s Bar lot following the Feb. 22 fire there. At this time, no plans for the site have been submitted to the city. Photo by Rachel Lukas. 

Dietman said the insurance company fenced off the site to keep people away from the debris pile, but the city would not require the fence to remain in place once the lot is vacant.

Sturgeon Bay Community Development Director Marty Olejniczak said no plans have been submitted to the city at this point to develop the lot.

The Feb. 22 fire at Butch’s Bar resulted in the deaths of two tenants who were upstairs at the time of the early-morning blaze. 

Another tenant, Anthony Gonzales, 58, faces felony charges that include two counts of second-degree reckless homicide and five counts of second-degree recklessly endangering safety, along with one misdemeanor count of negligent handling of burning material. Gonzales remains in custody on a $250,000 cash bond.

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